The Urgent Need
For more than 30 years the Adventist medical clinic in Mwanza [MWAHN-zah], Tanzania, has served a large region of northern Tanzania. Hundreds of lives have been saved, and thousands have been blessed through this ministry.
Zachariah came to the clinic with a serious case of malaria, a potentially deadly disease spread by mosquitoes. Zachariah could have gone to the government hospital, but he knew that it was overcrowded and that he would get better treatment at the little Adventist clinic. He was admitted and treated for several days. While he received treatment, the staff spoke to him gently about God. “I appreciate the attention the nurses and medical people gave me when I was so sick,” Zachariah says. “They gave me hope that I would recover, even during the darkest hours. And I’m glad that the staff told me about Jesus. Now I have faith in God.” Zachariah isn’t yet an Adventist, but he’s an ambassador for the Adventist clinic and the caring staff of medical personnel.
Mara arrived at the clinic after spending four days in labor in an overcrowded local hospital. She was afraid and in pain. The staff of the Adventist clinic prayed with her and helped deliver her baby. Mara told her husband how much the staff cared for her. Although the family is of another faith, he thanked the staff for their prayers for his wife and child. Mara and her new baby continue to receive care at the clinic. They know that the Adventists really care about them.
But ministry at the clinic goes beyond medical care. A non-Adventist nurse was impressed when staff members prayed for patients. And she noticed that Sabbaths were special, with a spirit of peace and service that she had never experienced before. Although no business was transacted on Sabbath, patients received all necessary care, and special attention was given to their spiritual needs. The nurse began asking questions and learned more about the philosophy and teachings of Adventists. She is studying the Bible with the chaplain and continues to ask questions about what makes Adventists special.
Omary is a community leader. When the city gave the land on which the Adventist clinic was built in 1979, his family was among the first to use the clinic, even though he is of another faith. And the family has continued using the clinic for medical needs since then.
Omary’s elder sister has heart and liver problems. When she developed a serious leg ulcer, the clinic doctor treated her, but was concerned and encouraged the woman to go to a local hospital for further treatment. But Omary’s sister refused. “I want to be treated here,” she insisted. So the doctor and nurses worked with her and prayed for her. Her condition improved.
“Over the years the clinic has improved and grown,” Omary says. “The staff does so much with so few resources. Now we see the new hospital being built next door, and we have hope that we won’t have to go to another hospital for advanced care. We can be treated right here in our community. This institution has a reputation for fine medical care. We rejoice with Adventists in anticipation of their new hospital.
“I am not a Christian, but I know Adventists care for their fellow humans, no matter what their faith,” Omary adds.
Daniel is a businessman in Mwanza. He and his wife have made the Adventist clinic their primary medical facility since their marriage. When his wife was pregnant, she asked the doctor at the Adventist clinic to oversee her pregnancy. The doctor was concerned that Daniel’s wife might have complications during labor and delivery and urged her to go to the regional hospital. “My wife and baby girl are fine, for which I’m grateful,” Daniel says. “But we’re eager for the Adventist hospital to be completed so that we can receive all our medical care there. In the meantime we look to the Adventist clinic for our care. We’re impressed with the care we receive here, and we don’t want to go elsewhere.
“I know that this hospital will be a great benefit to the community because the people at the Adventist clinic really care. It provides more than physical care; it provides a spiritual element that blesses everyone who comes here.”
The Adventist clinic exists to meet the needs of a large population in northern Tanzania. Adventists from across the country have sacrificed to build this hospital. Part of our Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help them complete this project so that more people can be blessed through the healing touch and spiritual nurture they will receive there.